France's national lottery games operator La Française des Jeux will acquire Premier Lotteries Ireland, the Irish national lottery operator, as it eyes further international growth. The purchase was unveiled along FDJ Group’s H1 2023 report, a period during which the French company saw revenue up by 6% to €1.29 billion ($1.42 billion).
During the first half of the year, FDJ saw a 10% increase in sports betting and online gaming open to competition to €257 million ($283.2 million). Meanwhile, lottery grew by a modest 1% to €958 million ($1 billion), limited by a low number of Loto and Euromillions high jackpots for the entire half-year, which the operator says “also undermines the momentum in digital stakes.”
Elsewhere in its report, the group announced “good activity” in point-of-sales with stakes up 3%, and online with stakes up 13%. Recurring EBITDA was at €300 million ($330.6 million), a 23.3% margin; while net income grew by 13% to €181 million ($199.5 million), driven by a “strong” improvement in financial income.
Stéphane Pallez, Chairwoman and CEO of the FDJ Group, said: "FDJ recorded solid results in the first half of the year, driven by a good increase in stakes in our network of 30,000 points of sale, a sustained dynamic in digital stakes and the integration of new activities.
“I am also delighted with the acquisition of Premier Lotteries Ireland, the operator of the Irish national lottery and a long-standing partner in the Euromillions community. Becoming the operator of a foreign lottery marks another major step in the FDJ Group's international development."
FDJ signed the agreement to acquire Premier Lotteries Ireland on Thursday. The company holds the exclusive rights to operate the Irish national lottery until 2034. “The completion of this transaction remains subject to customary conditions precedent, including the Irish national lottery regulator's approval, which is expected to come in the second half of 2023,” noted FDJ.
In 2022, Premier Lotteries Ireland recorded gross gaming revenue (GGR) of €399 million ($440 million) and revenue of €140 million ($154.4 million). The French company notes the Irish operator had an EBITDA margin “comparable to that of the FDJ Group,” i.e. an additional contribution to group growth of more than 5% over a full year.
Around 450 FDJ points of sale suffered varying degrees of damage during recent riots in France, although the company notes two-third of them have already reopened. “The Group is working alongside its retailers, including postponing direct debits and managing past-due payments, and is supporting them to facilitate their reopening,” said the operator.
Elsewhere in its report, FDJ announced a commitment to the prevention of underage gambling. The gambling firm made a €10 million ($11 million) commitment in early 2023 to support initiatives to prevent gaming among minors, led by the associative sector over the next five years and due to begin by the end of the year.
As for the full 2023 financial year, the group now expects revenue to grow by more than 5% and by more than 3% on a like-for-like basis, with the current EBITDA margin maintained at around 24. The forecasts are based on the results for the first half of the year and the expected full impact of the new formula for Amigo, a point-of-sale game with a draw every five minutes.
The product was relaunched at the start of June with a new format, in accordance with a decision by the French regulator, the Autorité nationale des jeux. Alongside this relaunch is a reduction in the number of draws (with a suspension for 15 minutes per hour between 6 am and 2 pm) and in the maximum amount per play (€8 versus €20).